Annual Update

The Scar Free Foundation Virtual Annual Update Event

We recently held our virtual Annual Update event, for the first time this year, entirely online. The event offered the Foundation’s supporters, researchers and Ambassadors an insight into the past years’ activity and our plans for future research.

After a short update on the Foundation, Dr Richard Williams from The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research in Birmingham presented on the DeScar project. The team are trialing a revolutionary new dressing that actively prevents scar formation which has been specially engineered to be used in conflict and hostile environments. To minimize the impact of COVID on the project, the team has brought the manufacturing process of the dressing in-house, converting one of the labs into a clean room and purchasing a specialised oven to dry entire batches of dressings at once. The dressing has the potential to revolutionise clinical outcomes for patients with scarring, vastly improving quality of life.

Professor Iain Whitaker from Swansea University also presented on the Bioface project due to start later this year. Professor Whitaker explained the team’s research into 3D printed facial cartilage for use in facial reconstruction. Notably, during lockdown, team members temporarily redirected their research efforts and used their technology to print face visors for frontline staff and parts for ventilators for COVID patients. The team is now continuing research into 3D printing cartilage, and Professor Whitaker highlighted how funding from the Foundation would help springboard the research from bench to bedside, offering patients transformational personalised treatment options.

Finally, Scar Free Ambassador Justyn Hollett spoke about his journey from injury to scarring and beyond. Justyn sustained third degree burns as a toddler after pulling a pot of boiling water onto himself, and is now committed to bringing visibility and representation to those who live with scarring. Justyn uses his social media channel (@beingbravescar) to speak openly and honestly about his journey and over the lockdown period, he established ‘BraveChat’ which was a weekly series on Instagram discussing mental health issues with different guests. Justyn highlighted how his aim is to inspire others to embrace their bodies and to see beyond their limitations.

The event closed with an address from Scar Free Chairman, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, who emphasised his pride in not only those we support but also the people who support us. The collaborative effort behind scar free healing was highlighted, with Bruce reiterating the importance of our researchers, our supporters and our Ambassadors.

To watch this webinar in full, please visit our website where you can also find clips of each presentation. If you have any questions about what was covered in the event, please do get in touch.